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Anticommunist agency obtains P17B budget from proposed P28-B

By on December 15, 2021 0

The government’s controversial counterinsurgency group will receive a budget of 17.1 billion pesos next year, with the Senate and House of Representatives compromising on Wednesday to cut its original 28 billion peso proposal by 60%.

But the 2022 budget of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflicts (NTF-Elcac) is only slightly lower than its current appropriation of 19.3 billion pesos and well above the original proposal of 4. billion pesos from the Senate finance committee, which was later adjusted to 10 billion pesos.

The chairman of the committee, Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, who led the Senate contingent at the bicameral conference, told reporters earlier that he was optimistic the compromise budget would be passed in the Senate.

But when he presented it to plenary later Wednesday, the last sitting day of the year, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon demanded to know “what had happened.”

According to Angara, NTF-Elcac’s Barangay Development Program (BDP) amounted to 16.1 billion pesos, of which 5.6 billion pesos are housed in the programmed fund and 10.5 billion pesos in the fund. unscheduled, which generally requires public borrowing if non-tax revenues are not reached.

About 900 million pesos are entered in the budgets of other agencies implementing counter-insurgency programs, he said, adding: “The total of everything, including the BDP and other agencies, is d. ‘about 17 billion pesos.

Drilon expressed disappointment that the bicameral panel had capitulated to the administration’s seemingly favorable treatment at NTF-Elcac despite public criticism. But he said he understood the need for compromise.

The Senate ratified the 2022 spending bill around 5:30 p.m. It will then be sent to President Duterte for signature.

Contentious article

NTF-Elcac, whose president is “commander and president” and national security adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. is vice president, has become notorious for tagging or labeling activists and other dissidents as communists on numerous occasions.

Its budget for 2022 has been one of the most controversial points in the bicameral discussions.

Angara and her counterpart in the House, ACT-CIS Party List Representative and Appropriations Committee Chairman Eric Yap, have looked into the $ 5,000 billion general appropriations bill in a so-called “Small bicam” to facilitate the reconciliation of contradictory provisions in the two versions of the budget of the chambers.

The Angara committee initially offered just 4 billion pesos to fund NTF-Elcac operations next year, but was persuaded by pro-administration senators to increase it to 10 billion pesos.

The House, on the other hand, withheld the funding initially proposed by the executive of 28 billion pesos for the task force.

NTF-Elcac’s current budget amounts to 19.3 billion pesos. Of this amount, 16.4 billion pesos is destined for the BDP which critics say is used for propaganda and political purposes.

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